No one told spring about everything being cancelled. All my flowers are popping and throwing color all over the yard. We have many flowers here on the plantation. My mom has given me several bulbs over the years, and G’s grandmother, “Granny Green” was huge on flowers. She provided us with tons of cool flowers over the years before she passed away. Bulbs are great for people like me who kind of suck at growing things. Once you stick a bulb in the ground, you’re done. You just forget about it for about 50 weeks, and then you get to enjoy it again (and remember where you planted it).
I’m feeling grateful that our quarantine happened in spring instead of winter. Seeing things burst back to life has helped make this whole staying at home thing easier to bear.
That’s probably worth explaining. I am a hermit after all, (see the blog name) and staying at home is not that tough for me. Each summer I revel in the fact that I spend most weeks rarely leaving my driveway. I barricade myself in my studios or at least in the yard. I try to be as productive as possible. But in the summer, I can still choose to interact with other people. By the time May rolls around I’ve had a lot of student interaction, and my students have probably endured about as much of me as they can stand. I may choose to have coffee with a friend, or we may have dinner with pals. Our family goes on vacation, and I watch other people from a distance. It seems the key to my summer hermitage has to do with the regular rise and fall of the social tides. I minimize social interactions during the summer to recharge for the nonstop interactions throughout the fall. I get a small break for winter, and then I’m social all spring. So again, by May, I’m ready for solitude.
But this spring was interrupted before I had my fill. I don’t want to admit that I miss people. That just seems like it goes against everything I am. But here we are. Confused. Irritable. Happy. Living the spectrum of emotions daily. One minute I’m in wide eyed wonder at the beauty of my dog’s nose, and the next minute I’m wishing I was hugging graduates as they leave our academic nest. One minute I’m quietly watching the sun warm the front pasture and the next I’m fussing at my kid for not doing their schoolwork on time.
I want to get in my truck and get out, but then I feel bad about wanting to do that. I don’t want to expose anyone to anything bad. I don’t want my kids to touch a shopping cart handle and get sick, but I also don’t want to unknowingly spread any sickness to strangers. So, we look for ways to get out without having to interact with others.
As last weekend approached, we were told our governor had allowed the State Parks to reopen to visitors. I get all my news second-hand for highly opinionated reasons that would be best discussed in-person over coffee. But this news came from a trusted source who keeps me informed on the latest developments. I decided we were going to have a mandatory hiking day on Saturday, so we made lunches and loaded the dogs into the truck. We drove to one of our favorite hiking State Parks. As we neared the park entrance, I had a passing worry that maybe the park would be closed and wondered what my backup plan might be. I didn’t really have one. Sure enough, the gates were closed, and a sign was posted indicating the park would reopen in one week. Ugh.
A short time later we sat in the parking lot of a Walgreens while I did some quick research. I found that the Swamp Rabbit Trail was probably open, and we steered in that direction. This was not the nature walk I had hoped for initially, but we enjoyed it. We followed the trail for a couple of miles through the town of Travelers Rest. The kids liked walking through civilization and seeing people and their pets. The dogs were just happy to be out of the house. We made it back to the truck, then drove to a cool little ice cream shop nearby. The shop was open, and no one was inside, so we avoided human contact again. We picked up dinner to go, and soon we were back in “quarantine” at home.
The semester is ending soon. Finals are upon us, and we’re all seeking some sort of closure on a weird semester. We’re probably all hoping that our lives will return to normal, and that we’ll have a real summer. I know the people in my house are. Last summer didn’t turn out exactly how everyone planned, and I think we’re all a little nervous about this one being dented by the Corona stuff. Here’s to hoping for less Zoom meetings and more time on the beach.